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Best Dim Sum

lizziee Jun 27, 2009 11:36 AM

What do you consider to be the best dim sum in Los Angeles? Thinking about going for a Sunday brunch/lunch.

  1. Gypsy Jan Sep 21, 2013 07:23 AM

    October Birthday Celebration

    Planning a birthday celebration next month for (**whoo, whoo, political incorrectness alert**) #1 daughter.

    She loves dim sum and in the past we have done Sea Food Paradise in Westminster (loved), Jasmine and Empress in San Diego (disappointed in the food, but grateful for Mom's thoughtfulness).

    The collective wisdom of the board seems to regard Sea Harbour and Elite as the best. Right now, I am leaning towards Elite.

    Any thoughts and/or new recommendations? We will be coming from San Diego and south Orange County.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Gypsy Jan
      Servorg Sep 21, 2013 07:30 AM

      I don't think you can go wrong with either one. This all comes down to subtle differences in certain items that one may do better than the other, but both are chow-worthy and then sum.

      Did you see this thread? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754252 or this one which was the result of the OP's visit to SH: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/758951

      1. re: Servorg
        Gypsy Jan Sep 21, 2013 07:50 AM

        No, I didn't see those threads. Thanks for the links :)

        1. re: Gypsy Jan
          Servorg Sep 21, 2013 07:57 AM

          I really think if I was going for the first time I'd pick Sea Harbour and then go to Elite the next time. Maybe a coin flip? Hope you'll post about your experience no matter where you end up.

      2. re: Gypsy Jan
        JAB Sep 21, 2013 07:53 AM

        I like Sea Food Paradise but, I love Elite and Sea Harbor is just below Elite and both are head and shoulders above Sea Food Paradise.

        1. re: Gypsy Jan
          bulavinaka Sep 21, 2013 09:04 AM

          Both choices are good. IMHO, Sea Harbour's main dining room feels more white linen and celebratory compared to Elite.

          1. re: bulavinaka
            JAB Sep 21, 2013 10:10 AM

            Funny, I'd say the opposite. Then there's the getting over Sea Harbor being in what used to be a Farrell's but, I'm over that once I step inside.

            1. re: JAB
              Porthos Sep 21, 2013 10:27 AM

              Agree with JAB. Sea Harbour always reminded me of those portable classrooms we had in junior high and high school.

              More of a factor for dinner. With dim sum, it's so crowded and busy there isn't really a fine dining factor.

              1. re: Porthos
                bulavinaka Sep 21, 2013 12:25 PM

                Really? Elite's dining room feels kinda dark and compressed to me. Where as Sea Harbour's dining room feels lighter, brighter and fresh. Shrug...

                1. re: bulavinaka
                  Porthos Sep 21, 2013 12:55 PM

                  I don't get that difference at all :-)

          2. re: Gypsy Jan
            ipsedixit Sep 21, 2013 10:33 AM

            For you Jan, I would recommend Elite, even though I am firmly in the "Sea Harbour is better than Elite, but both are excellent" camp.

            Am I invited?

            1. re: ipsedixit
              Porthos Sep 21, 2013 10:59 AM

              G.Jan, definitely invite Ipse, have him pay for the live king crab at Elite. ;-)

              That's where Elite really shines above Sea Harbour, that and the roasted suckling pig.

              1. re: Porthos
                JAB Sep 21, 2013 11:04 AM

                It'd only be right.

                1. re: JAB
                  Porthos Sep 21, 2013 11:31 AM

                  I insist ;-)

                  1. re: Porthos
                    kevin Sep 21, 2013 09:15 PM

                    I'd like to go too :)

                    1. re: kevin
                      JAB Sep 21, 2013 09:22 PM

                      Entry fee is a live king crab. Bring your Amex.

                      1. re: JAB
                        J.L. Sep 21, 2013 09:36 PM

                        Cash is still king.

                        1. re: J.L.
                          Servorg Sep 22, 2013 04:41 AM

                          You and JAB are both right: Cash King Crab

                2. re: Porthos
                  Mr Taster Sep 21, 2013 02:44 PM

                  >> That's where Elite really shines above Sea Harbour

                  Don't forget the snow buns :)

                  Mr Taster

                3. re: ipsedixit
                  Gypsy Jan Sep 23, 2013 06:28 PM

                  Hairy crab, hairy crab...hmm...umm...Oops! I must have drifted off into a ChowDream (TM).

                  Why, yes, ipse, you are invited to join us at #1 daughter's birthday celebration.

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan
                    JAB Sep 23, 2013 06:50 PM

                    Sorry Kevin.

                    1. re: JAB
                      kevin Sep 23, 2013 07:00 PM

                      Why you Sorry ????

              2. n
                N5232P Jun 22, 2013 11:13 PM

                I just had Dim Sum at King Hua in Alhambra. They are very good. Sure they don't have the carts running around but the menu has excellent photos of all the dishes with good description too. The baked pork buns were fantastic. I have been eating Dim Sum for 40 years and my ex wife was Chinese so I have eaten Chinese food all over LA area and China. This place is one to put on your list.

                1. e
                  estone888 Apr 8, 2012 02:40 PM

                  I just got back from 888 and was reminded again of how it is my favorite of the off the cart dim sum places. It has an enormous and often changing variety - a far bigger variety than Elite, Sea Harbour or Shanghai #1, my three favorite order from the menu places. It has several types of dim sum that I can't find anywhere else - gau choy gau, for instance, my favorite - and the quality and freshness, though not on a par with from the menu places, is excellent for an off the cart place - especially if you snag a seat near where the carts exit the kitchen.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: estone888
                    liu Apr 8, 2012 02:52 PM

                    After enjoying dim sum so many times at the menu places, we went to 888 for a change. It is fun because as you pointed out, estone888, there are so many choices and a few surprises. When you order from the menu, you know exactly what your meal will be. When you go with the flow of the carts, every next bite is a surprise!

                    We agree with you that 888 is one of the best for carts!

                  2. r
                    risaz Apr 5, 2012 12:51 PM

                    reigniting this debate. what are the best dim sum joints in the sgv now? have a relative visiting who's a stickler for chinese food.

                    also what are everyone's thoughts on shanghai no 1 seafood village for dimsum?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: risaz
                      Chandavkl Apr 5, 2012 03:34 PM

                      Not much change. Still Sea Harbour/Elite, King Hua, Lunasia dominate. Newly opened Shanghai Seafood Village No. 1 could be a contender. In WLA, The Palace is a clear upgrade over VIP Harbor.

                    2. d
                      degustateur Jan 22, 2010 12:57 AM

                      Years ago, I was steadfast about wanting to visually assess and select what I was getting for my dim sum dollar. Over time, after many visits to many different dim sum venues, I observed that fresher, hotter, often better-presented items were served cooked-to-order from menus. Although I’ve never reverted back philosophically, I would never shun a purportedly superior, cart-driven dim sum opportunity. After all, to me, it’s all about the dim sum itself.

                      Sea Harbour remains my favorite LA area dim sum house, followed very, very closely by Elite. Both happen to be menu-driven. And yes, Urasawa-san’s opinion is highly valued, but my preference was established well before I knew of his.

                      See related recent thread at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/680312

                      Sea Harbour
                      3939 Rosemead Blvd.
                      Rosemead, CA 91770
                      (626) 288-3939

                      Elite Restaurant
                      700 S. Atlantic Blvd
                      Monterey Park, CA 91754
                      (626) 282-9998

                      1. m
                        mc michael Jan 21, 2010 08:35 PM

                        I've been to Elite, Sea Harbour, NBC, Empress, King Hua, CBS. Overall, my fave with carts is Full House, Arcadia. Without, Elite.

                        1. cant talk...eating Jan 21, 2010 08:14 PM

                          Just tried King Hua in Alhambra a couple days ago. This is the best dim sum I've ever had in L.A. No carts - just menu check-offs, like a sushi bar. Talked with the floor-manager-fellow and he said the chef was formerly at Sea Harbor, fwiw.

                          Everything was super-fresh, and the egg rolls in particular were these light, pork and cilantro puffs unlike any other egg roll I've had. Perfect pork bao (not fatty gristly stuff), shrimp dumplings with "pea tips" (minced snow peas?) w/ pieces of fresh shrimp (as opposed to mush at other places). Only slight disappointment was the shrimp with rice in lotus leaf which was really, really bland. I imagine on a weekend it's probably packed, but at noon on a rainy weekday, it was less than half-full.

                          1. p
                            Papuli Aug 5, 2009 11:36 AM

                            So, if one is looking specifically for cart dim sum in the SGV, is it agreed that 888, Capital Seafood and NBC are the best. I'm leading an expedition of dim sum newbies who very much want the cart experience. Are those three the best choices, or am I missing any?

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: Papuli
                              choctastic Aug 5, 2009 12:32 PM

                              888 imho

                              1. re: Papuli
                                Das Ubergeek Aug 5, 2009 12:46 PM


                                1. re: Papuli
                                  ipsedixit Aug 5, 2009 01:46 PM

                                  888 or Ocean Star.

                                  If you want the "cart experience" I would opt or Ocean Star? Why? The dining room at Ocean Star is the size of a small airplane hangar. And when it gets busy you've cart ladies running around like those ghosts chasing Pac-Man and the din in the room can be as intoxicating as the food itself. It's the ultimate in "cart experience".

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    Clinton Aug 5, 2009 08:38 PM

                                    We spent approx. 3 hours for lunch once at Ocean Star. That's the only way to experience all what they have. Not to stuff yourself on certain things but to "taste" everything slowly. Ocean Star seemed to have the most variety of exotic dishes.

                                    1. re: Clinton
                                      choctastic Aug 6, 2009 07:22 AM

                                      I agree, Ocean Star is a good choice.

                                      1. re: Clinton
                                        Chandavkl Aug 6, 2009 09:35 AM

                                        Just received a bad downhill report from one of my spies concerning Ocean Star's dim sum quality/variety. There may have been some kind of change in ownership/management. The place is still packed, but that is possibly due to major price cuts. Need to follow up on that.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl
                                          ipsedixit Aug 6, 2009 09:46 AM

                                          I'm curious. Was this report for a weekday or weekend visit?

                                          I've found that with Ocean Star (other cart places as well, but especially with Ocean Star) is that there is a WIDE divergence in quality and variety between weekdays and weekends.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            Chandavkl Aug 6, 2009 12:30 PM

                                            My informant provided some additional information. The former owner of NBC bought Ocean Star this past spring. Apparently changed the Chinese name of the restaurant (I think the old name was North Ocean) to Miriwa, since he used to run that restaurant a long time ago. Dim sum price has dropped to $1.69 weekdays and $1.99 weekends. At those prices, they've had to cut corners.

                                            1. re: Chandavkl
                                              Wonginator Aug 6, 2009 12:46 PM

                                              Well, that's not good news to me, considering I liked my Ocean Star experiences before the switchover, and considered NBC to be very mediocre before the remodel.

                                              1. re: Wonginator
                                                choctastic Aug 6, 2009 03:23 PM

                                                Same here. Thx for the heads up, Chandavkl.

                                    2. re: Papuli
                                      liu Aug 5, 2009 07:48 PM

                                      Elite is our first choice; the food is always hot and fresh! We have been several dozen times and continue to comment about how good it is!

                                      For the cart experience, we enjoy Capital -- in the 99 Ranch Center at Atlantic and Garvey. It is a pleasant space, the service is always friendly and most of the dishes are good to very good. Occasionally, we select a dish that is not hot enough; however, that is usually our only complaint.

                                      After Capital, be sure to walk a few doors down to Wing Hop Fung to extend the fun!

                                      1. re: liu
                                        ZoeZ Apr 7, 2012 10:36 AM

                                        Agree with you Liu - Elite first choice but Capital always delivers - we had a spanking lunch there on Tuesday with a bill of $23 plus several leftovers to eat for next day breakfast. Very friendly service from the staff and manager. Tripe with ginger was just yummy.

                                        1. re: ZoeZ
                                          liu Apr 8, 2012 12:20 PM

                                          Hi, ZoeZ.

                                          You are responding to my post from a few years ago; STILL, Elite is our favorite!
                                          As you, we like to move around to check out the other dim sum places...just to be sure that we are not missing anything! I am glad to hear that you like Elite.

                                          Which Capital did you go to?

                                      2. re: Papuli
                                        Wonginator Aug 6, 2009 09:59 AM

                                        I'll put in a negative vote for 888. Been there twice, once a year ago, once recently, both times being mediocre. Unlikely I'll ever go back. I rank it below Capital Seafood, which is not even in my top 5 cart places.

                                        For cart service, I prefer Empress Harbor and Ocean Star.

                                        Experiences at NBC have improved since the remodel. This would probably be my 3rd choice. New Capital, which replaces the Sam Woo on the 4th floor in the Focus Plaza on Valley, would be my 4th pick.

                                        1. re: Wonginator
                                          taiwanesesmalleats Aug 6, 2009 10:24 AM

                                          I'm actually very surprised at this. I've been to New Capital a few times and I think it's very mediocre. The cart coverage is terrible if you're in a side room and the service is lacking even for a Chinese restaurant. Not to mention the wait... The best item there is probably the siu mai. Other than that, I have few good things to say about the place.

                                          Also, I think Ocean Star is pretty low too. The items I get there are often poorly constructed and are either falling apart or don't hold their shape. Their saving grace is as ipsedixit pointed out above, the sheer size and experience is what it's good for.

                                      3. p
                                        pvgirl Jun 28, 2009 01:52 PM

                                        I doubt it's the best - but you might take a look at VIP Harbor Seafood in West LA on Wilshire. We went there about 9 years ago - and it was pretty good. Perhaps someone here has more current information. Only reason I mention it is I'm sitting here with a big map of Los Angeles on my floor - planning some of our trip. We were going to go to East LA for Chinese food for lunch one day - but - on my map - our hotel is on the left side of the map - and Monterey Park is so way on the right side that it's on the back of the map. I figure it's a 45 minute drive each way - then a wait on line - and then a short meal (we'll only be 2 people - how much can we eat?).

                                        Also - you might take a look at the story on Chinese restaurants in East LA in the May 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine (if you don't have the print magazine - the article is available on line). The author's favorite dim sum place seems to be Elite Restaurant. Robyn

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: pvgirl
                                          Chandavkl Jun 28, 2009 01:55 PM

                                          VIP Harbor Seafood changed hands maybe 5 years ago and is not nearly as good as it used to be. In the old days the WLA branch was actually better than the sister location in San Gabriel. Not that it's bad, and it's the only game in town as far as Westside dim sum is concerned, but certainly would not be mentioned anywhere near the top anymore.

                                          1. re: Chandavkl
                                            pvgirl Jun 28, 2009 02:15 PM

                                            Thanks for the update. We were thinking of trying it again on our trip in July. But there's no reason to spoil the memory of a good meal. Robyn

                                            1. re: Chandavkl
                                              kevin Jul 7, 2013 02:33 PM

                                              Where a the place with the fish balls? Maybe it's fuzhou (sp?) ?


                                              1. re: kevin
                                                Servorg Jul 7, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                Moved to another post below.

                                            2. re: pvgirl
                                              Das Ubergeek Jun 28, 2009 03:30 PM

                                              You can easily make a trip to the SGV last as long as you like. Go to Elite for Dom sum, then spend the day shopping, go get a foot reflexology session, wander around downtown Alhambra or MPK, have a cup tea and a snack... or go to Babita or Moles La Tía for dinner.

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                pvgirl Jun 28, 2009 04:06 PM

                                                Haven't ruled it out 100%. The Norton Simon is open on Monday - and we don't have any plans for Monday. Wouldn't stay for dinner though - trip home back to the hotel area is too far (I don't want to do long drives on unfamiliar freeways after dark). What is MPK? I am always up for a foot massage :).

                                                1. re: pvgirl
                                                  Das Ubergeek Jun 28, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                  Monterey Park, and it doesn't get dark until 8. :-)

                                                  It's not too hard to get round after dark. Take the 10 and follow signs :-)

                                              2. re: pvgirl
                                                wilafur Aug 5, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                skip vip harbor seafood dim sum. it's pretty bad and overpriced. i live within walking distance and whenever i get the dim sum hankering, i hop in the car drive to the sgv.

                                                1. re: pvgirl
                                                  kevin Jul 7, 2013 02:32 PM

                                                  Do you have a link to this online article ?????

                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    Servorg Jul 7, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                    I'm conflicted. We aren't doing you any favors by spoon feeding you, kev. You know how to Google. But on the other hand I was interested to read it too. So here it is, only 4 years after the fact. But how about next time you go and find it and link it for the rest of the L.A. board? Deal? http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                      kevin Jul 7, 2013 02:59 PM


                                                      Now why do you always have to give me such a hard time.

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        Servorg Jul 7, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                        I'm crochety and curmudgeonly and irascible...

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          Mr Taster Jul 8, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                          It's not just servorg, Kevin. You've left me scratching my head many a time. I just tend to stay out of the fray.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                            PeterCC Jul 8, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                            On the flipside, I think kevin uses his phone a lot to access and post on CH. Even on the best smartphones it's not ideal, and I think it leads to some of his more stream-of-consciousness posts, which are pretty amusing.

                                                            (It may also explain the asking for links to articles or former posts. CH's search on phones isn't the greatest either, though it's improved.)

                                                            1. re: PeterCC
                                                              Servorg Jul 8, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                              How well does Google search work on smart phones?

                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                PeterCC Jul 8, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                                Depends on the phone, and depends on the user. :-)

                                                  2. Will Owen Jun 28, 2009 01:16 PM

                                                    We haven't done any in a while, but last time we returned to the family's old favorite, Empress Harbor in Monterey Park, and found to be much improved. The tiredness that had settled over the menu was gone, the offerings fresher and more interesting, and the management, which in the past had been traditional Chinese (i.e. sublimely indifferent, bordering on rude) had become aggressively friendly, coming around to the table to see how we liked everything. I think Papa actually found that a little scary!

                                                    The prices are still quite low, too.

                                                    1. OC Mutt Jun 28, 2009 02:20 AM

                                                      Ocean Seafood in Chinatown but I'm really sad to say that trying Yank Sing in San Francisco literally ruined LA dim sum for me. I haven't found anywhere that isn't mediocre in comparison so my dim sum con-SUM-sion, has tapered off to zero. I just never go anymore. Braving the crowds, and enduring the long shleps to get to the better LA places just for dim sum that is mediocre in comparison just isn't appealing any more. This is sad because I used to LOVE dim sum.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: OC Mutt
                                                        Das Ubergeek Jun 28, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                        Have you been to Elite? I think it's better than Yank Sing.

                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                          OC Mutt Jun 28, 2009 08:31 AM

                                                          Nope. Haven't tried that one. I gave up on LA dim sum 5 years ago, and hadn't heard of that one at the time.

                                                          1. re: OC Mutt
                                                            bulavinaka Jun 28, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                            You really should try Elite and Sea Harbour before giving up on LA dim sum. We tried Yank Sing last summer - the place on Spear is nice, but IMHO, Elite and Sea Harbour hold up well against it.

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                              Porthos Jun 28, 2009 10:02 AM

                                                              Giving up on LA dim sum is a bit drastic. Aside from Koi Palace in SF, LA's dim sum trumps dim sum in any other major US city. I easily prefer Sea Harbor to Yank Sing.

                                                              1. re: Porthos
                                                                bulavinaka Jun 28, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                                Koi Palace is on our list the next time we're through the Bay area.

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                  condiment Jun 28, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                  As well it should be. Dinners are even better than dim sum.

                                                            2. re: OC Mutt
                                                              Chandavkl Jun 28, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                              All the best dim sum places in the LA area have opened up in the past few years, are menu driven, and clearly surpass the pre-existing cart style places. In addition to Sea Harbour and Elite, there are other places, such as King Hua and Lunasia, which also surpass the previous generation of dim sum favorites, including Ocean Star, NBC, 888, and all of the places in Chinatown.

                                                        2. y
                                                          yoyo Jun 28, 2009 02:15 AM

                                                          Elite is my fave. Get the egg custard bun

                                                          1. c
                                                            Clinton Jun 27, 2009 12:42 PM

                                                            This question has been asked numerous of times. Taste is subjective and everyone has their own opinion. Many people like Sea Harbour or Elite but some like Ocean Star or NBC. Your personal taste may differ from mine. I like PV Palace in Lomita on certain days and then I like Ocean Star in Monterey Park on another. Service and availability could be a main key to the word "best". Price and taste could be another. I like Top Island in SGV for price but just the opposite for Sea Empress in Gardena. So many variables for being the superlative "best".

                                                            1. b
                                                              bulavinaka Jun 27, 2009 12:05 PM

                                                              Since trying and really enjoying both Sea Harbour and Elite, we haven't really thought about the carts that much. However, there is a lot to be said about the experience. The frenetic bustle, the smells and sights of the carts, actually seeing what is being offered, etc. Although we haven't been to dim sum in a while, I think mrhooks' list pretty much sums up your choices. Sea Harbour is exceptional, as is Elite, but go as early as possible. These places are not the huge palaces many had become accustomed to. The seating is limited and their popularity means the wait can be long.

                                                              38 Replies
                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                lizziee Jun 27, 2009 12:09 PM

                                                                Hiro-san's favorite definitely sways my opinion. What time should I get there?

                                                                1. re: lizziee
                                                                  bulavinaka Jun 27, 2009 03:43 PM

                                                                  I believe Sea Harbor opens at 10AM. We usually go on weekends, and have arrived as late as 1015 to still be seated immediately, but YMMV. The lines increase exponentially every five minutes after 1030. Seriously. And this is true with Elite as well. You may want to call just to be sure on their hours.

                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                    Das Ubergeek Jun 27, 2009 04:24 PM

                                                                    We went to Elite last weekend and put our names in at 1105 and were seated about half an hour later. With Elite and Sea Harbour you don't need to wait for them to "bring out the good stuff", since it's all steamed to order for you when you want it. They do walk around with "specials" but honestly, they're not THAT special.

                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                      Mr Taster Apr 5, 2012 03:40 PM

                                                                      I went to Elite a few weekends ago. Arrived at 10:30 and were seated by 10:45. We were resigned for an hour wait (based on my last experience there) so this was a great surprise. We'll need to go more often.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                        Porthos Apr 5, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                        To echo what bulavinaka said above...last Saturday at Elite, I arrived at 1035 and was seated at 1105. I try to make it between 10-1030 and can usually be seated immediately. The bean curd roll is like silk and probably the best version in town.

                                                                        1. re: Porthos
                                                                          ns1 Apr 5, 2012 04:22 PM

                                                                          the sticky rice in banana leaf at Elite is miles better than Sea Harbour.

                                                                          that said, Elite uses peanuts in chicken feet so we always go to Sea Harbour.

                                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                                            Porthos Apr 5, 2012 04:37 PM

                                                                            You mean sticky rice in lotus leaf? I agree, thats another item I feel Elite does best in town. Another one of my must haves.

                                                                            1. re: Porthos
                                                                              Mr Taster Apr 5, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                              Let's not forget the snow buns.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                liu Apr 5, 2012 05:27 PM

                                                                                ...and their House Sugar Cake and their Honey BBQ Pastries (sorry, I don't have the exact name), and their Vegetable Rice Noodles and their Egg Custards and their Almond Shrimp Balls and their...

                                                                                1. re: liu
                                                                                  Porthos Apr 15, 2012 09:59 PM

                                                                                  Just had dim sum at Koi Palace up in SF, which I consider the best dim sum I've had between LA, SF, NYC.

                                                                                  The beancurd rolls and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves at Elite are better than the versions at Koi.

                                                                              2. re: Porthos
                                                                                ns1 Apr 5, 2012 04:49 PM

                                                                                whoops, you're right. sticky rice in lotus leaf. must have item @ Elite.

                                                                              3. re: ns1
                                                                                matlyst Oct 26, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                ns1 do you have other dim sum recommendations in LA that are peanut-allergy friendly? We know Din Tai Fung is a good place, but that's not really dim sum in the traditional sense. Appreciate any tips!

                                                                                1. re: matlyst
                                                                                  ns1 Oct 26, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                  I just go to sea harbour and avoid any obvious peanut dishes.

                                                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                                                    Mr Taster Oct 26, 2012 01:41 PM

                                                                                    Yeah, but if it's a true and serious peanut allergy, cross contamination can close a windpipe.

                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                      ns1 Oct 26, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                      Such is life with peanut allergies. Living in a bubble is not an option.

                                                                                  2. re: matlyst
                                                                                    Mr Taster Oct 26, 2012 01:37 PM

                                                                                    Din Tai Fung is not dim sum. It's an atypical Taiwanese take on typical Shanghainese food, but I see since I've posted this you've modified your original post to reflect this ;)

                                                                                    In general, the real Chinese restaurants of the San Gabriel Valley aren't so used to dealing with WPP (white people's problems), though the big dim summeries are more likely to have staff that speak functional English.

                                                                                    Rather than risk being misunderstood on the phone and getting an inaccurate answer, your best bet is to go in with the characters printed out and show it to the staff, and see if they will accommodate you.

                                                                                    Maybe someone can proofread my Chinese characters... not sure if this is understandable.


                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                      ipsedixit Oct 26, 2012 01:44 PM


                                                                                      Is that a subset of FWP?

                                                                                      I love it.

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                        J.L. Oct 26, 2012 01:55 PM


                                                                                        Translating (with some leeway for context) what you wrote:

                                                                                        "Sorry, I'm not Chinese. When foreigners eat peanuts, we simply die."

                                                                                        Consider a re-write.

                                                                                        1. re: J.L.
                                                                                          ipsedixit Oct 26, 2012 02:05 PM

                                                                                          Not exactly J.L. It's even more hilarious than your translation.

                                                                                          Mr Taster essentially said the following.

                                                                                          "Sorry, I'm an old white person. When foreigners eat peanuts, we die."

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                            J.L. Oct 26, 2012 02:55 PM

                                                                                            again... with some leeway for context... :-)

                                                                                          2. re: J.L.
                                                                                            Mr Taster Oct 26, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                                                            I meant it as a joke (that would still communicate the allergic need), even if it is inelegantly expressed :)

                                                                                            So, is it grammatically correct?

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                              ipsedixit Oct 26, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                                                              This might be your best bet:


                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                Mr Taster Oct 26, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                But that's no longer making fun of WPP and is therefore no longer funny (though it is functional)

                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                  PeterCC Oct 26, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                                                                  我不吃花生。我有花生過敏。如果我吃花生, 我的舌頭會爆炸。("...my tongue will explode", humorous?)

                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                    PeterCC Oct 26, 2012 02:17 PM

                                                                                                    Food allergies are not just WPP. I have a cousin in Taiwan who is allergic to shrimp. Shrimp! Taiwan! I feel really bad for her.

                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                    PeterCC Oct 26, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                                    Since the severity of the allergy is not indicated, and I'm not sure how serious the staff would take that (Mr Taster already labeled it a WPP) I'd tack on: 如果我吃花生,我會死。

                                                                                                    1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                                      ipsedixit Oct 26, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                                                                      This is better.


                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                        PeterCC Oct 26, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                                                                        > This is better.
                                                                                                        > 如果你給我花生,我的家人會來殺你。

                                                                                                        At this point, the waitstaff whispers under his/her breath, "dickhead..."

                                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                                          J.L. Oct 26, 2012 02:57 PM

                                                                                                          Just make sure to call ahead to see if Chef Sergio is cooking.

                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.
                                                                                                            linus Oct 26, 2012 03:35 PM

                                                                                                            this is the single funniest thing i've read on chowhound in ages. kudos, j.l.

                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                          raytamsgv Oct 26, 2012 03:11 PM

                                                                                                          Ipse, you should add something like: "And this time, it will be personal".

                                                                                                          1. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                                            ipsedixit Oct 26, 2012 03:14 PM

                                                                                                            I would think killing someone over a peanut *is* personal.

                                                                                                        3. re: PeterCC
                                                                                                          Mr Taster Oct 26, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                                                                          That's more along the lines of what I was going for, but I replaced the personal pronoun with various iterations of "foreigner" to try and make it funnier.

                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                        4. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                          J.L. Oct 26, 2012 02:55 PM

                                                                                                          Much better, ipse.

                                                                                                      2. re: J.L.
                                                                                                        PeterCC Oct 26, 2012 02:07 PM

                                                                                                        That's hilarious. What should we call that? Englese? To contrast with (peanut-related) Chinglish: http://www.chineseenglish.com/2009/02...

                                                                                                        1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                                          Servorg Feb 24, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                          This is my best effort using one of the online translation sites to get my point across: 我不是一头大象。请不要给我吃的花生

                                                                                      2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                        Mr Taster Apr 5, 2012 03:39 PM

                                                                                        For what it's worth, we stayed with friends in Hong Kong in 2006 and their opinion about cart service is that they're a relic from their grandparent's days.

                                                                                        I report this with some sadness, since I love the experience of the carts, but there really is a huge difference in the quality of food. Any dim sum place that really cares about their food is going to follow the modern Hong Kong model.

                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                          raytamsgv Apr 9, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                                          Remember that in Hong Kong, the lifetime of a trend is probably less than ten years. Anything older than that is considered ancient.

                                                                                      3. m
                                                                                        mrhooks Jun 27, 2009 11:52 AM

                                                                                        I think the general consensus here is Sea Harbor or Elite. However, I'm in that small minority that feels that, if they're not pushing around the carts, you aren't really getting the full dim sum experience. :D In that respect, 888 and Capital Seafood are both very good. NBC used to be the best, but I haven't been since it changed owners. The old owner now has another restaurant, East Gourmet. I thought it was good the one time I had dim sum there, but reviews here seem to be mixed.

                                                                                        Urasawa-san's favorite place is Sea Harbor, if that sways your opinion any. ;)

                                                                                        23 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: mrhooks
                                                                                          jgilbert1000 Jun 19, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                                          I will be bringing some people from out of town to lunch and wanted to have some excellent dim sum, but I am looking for a place that has the carts. Does Sea Harbor or Elite not have carts? If you want carts, is the general consensus that 888 and Capital Seafood are the best options?

                                                                                          1. re: jgilbert1000
                                                                                            chrishei Jun 19, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                                                            I actually like NBC > those 2 for carts. All of the top options, though, are indeed no-carts.

                                                                                            1. re: chrishei
                                                                                              jgilbert1000 Jun 19, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                                              Rather than go to Sea Harbor or Elite by 10:30 for an 11 a.m. lunch, which is too early for me, is it possible to go after the normal lunch hour and avoid crazy lines (e.g. 1:30 or 2:00?)

                                                                                              1. re: jgilbert1000
                                                                                                chrishei Jun 19, 2013 11:10 AM

                                                                                                You can, but I wouldn't advise it (for the fear of the better stuff running out and most of the others sitting out). Not speaking from personal experience though - I always go before 11am.

                                                                                                1. re: jgilbert1000
                                                                                                  ns1 Jun 20, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                                                                  no, don't go at the end of dim sum service. service is terrible (the waiters are eating with you). I did not notice a decline in quality at that time however.

                                                                                                  1. re: jgilbert1000
                                                                                                    TripleAxel Jul 8, 2013 01:44 PM

                                                                                                    I'd recommend going before 1:30pm because since they expect to shut down by 3pm, dim sum choices might be limited as some of the options might have been sold out by 1:30p or 2:00p.

                                                                                                2. re: jgilbert1000
                                                                                                  ipsedixit Jun 19, 2013 11:04 PM

                                                                                                  Best bet for carts, especially if want to entertain out of town guests, is Ocean Star.

                                                                                                  Neither Elite nor Sea Harbour have carts, both are menus.

                                                                                                  Don't go at 1:30 or 2. That's just weird.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                    Mr Taster Jun 19, 2013 11:25 PM

                                                                                                    Us laowai have a more flexible relationship with dimsum, as we're not used to eating savory pastries and dumplings for breakfast/brunch. It's why Bao on Beverly serves happy hour and dinner dimsum.

                                                                                                    But everyone is right, jgilbert1000-- 11am is when the weekend crush really kicks in, but it's also when the full menu is available. (If you go at 2pm, you'll only get the leftovers). If you go to Elite at 10:30 you can sometimes only need to wait a few minutes. If you go at 11:00 or 11:30, plan on waiting a lot longer.

                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                      PeterCC Jun 19, 2013 11:28 PM

                                                                                                      > Us laowai have a more flexible relationship with dimsum, as we're not used to eating savory pastries and dumplings for breakfast/brunch.

                                                                                                      My wife wholeheartedly agrees...

                                                                                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                                                                                        happybaker Jun 20, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                                                                        And Ipsedixit has taken compassionate pity on me. I confessed that I often buy dim sum midday, specifically so that I can eat it for dinner, with a glass of wine and the hubby.

                                                                                                        Ips kindly brainstormed with me on reheating techniques, and no judging! : )

                                                                                                        Maybe shoot for 1pm?

                                                                                                        1. re: happybaker
                                                                                                          Mr Taster Jun 20, 2013 10:29 AM

                                                                                                          Is it still dimsum if you're eating it at home? It seems to me that it's the whole experience that makes it so. Otherwise, you're just eating buns at home, and I don't call that dimsum. (I call it wufan :)

                                                                                                          Then again, it doesn't really matter what you call it, does it?

                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                            happybaker Jun 20, 2013 10:55 AM


                                                                                                            It's not the same experience as eating out, true.

                                                                                                            But, it's still pretty exciting and tasty to us!

                                                                                                            How 'bout we compromise and call it dim sum lunch before the mods smack us for getting off topic?

                                                                                                          2. re: happybaker
                                                                                                            raytamsgv Jun 20, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                                                                            Going for dim sum at 1 PM has its disadvantages. By then, the kitchen would have probably stopped making many of the dishes aside from a few standard ones (har gow, siu mai, etc.). And they will be making fewer of the standard ones as well, so you may need to wait longer for those.

                                                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                        selfportrait93 Jun 20, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                                                        I agree with Ipsedixit. There is nothing like a huge, busy, noisy place with steaming carts rolling along the aisles to introduce first timers as well as out of towners to Dim Sum. Ocean Star is it. It is also not expensive to Dim Sum there.

                                                                                                        1. re: selfportrait93
                                                                                                          Mr Taster Jun 20, 2013 04:42 PM

                                                                                                          Even the top tier places (Elite/Sea Harbour) are not expensive if you stay away from the live tanks. With a group sharing lots of orders, you can easily get away with $15-20 per person, and at Ocean Star perhaps $10.

                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                            ipsedixit Jun 20, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                                                                            There are people -- yes, them Chinese ones -- that consider $15-20 per person for dim sum highway robbery.

                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                              kevin Jul 7, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                                                                              Then who are the Chinese who are supporting $150 per person banquet dinners at Sea Harbour or Elite ???

                                                                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                ipsedixit Jul 7, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                The same Chinese people.

                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                  J.L. Jul 7, 2013 11:31 PM

                                                                                                                  Different meal, different outlook.

                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                          TonyC Jul 7, 2013 11:33 PM

                                                                                                          More importantly, which of these charges tea fee to those who deny tea?

                                                                                                          1. re: TonyC
                                                                                                            ipsedixit Jul 8, 2013 07:19 AM

                                                                                                            The ones that do charge a chopsticks fee, however.

                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                              ns1 Jul 9, 2013 06:07 PM

                                                                                                              What if I ask for a fork?

                                                                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                                                                Servorg Jul 9, 2013 08:23 PM

                                                                                                                You'll be forke.. er, never mind.

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